4/13/19 – Scratching Spezza

The last two things I’ve written for the Dallas Morning News have centered around matchups with the Nashville Predators. The last one was this morning revolving around Esa Lindell. It got me thinking about Jason Spezza. Then Sean tweeted this out:

I genuinely like Jason Spezza. There is no dimension where Justin Dowling is a more accomplished NHL player, or where he has more offensive upside than Spezza. It’s important to consider how the Stars roll their lines these days. Once you do the logic behind scratching Spezza is easier to follow.

The Stars need to generate offense. It isn’t coming from the bottom lines. There is a need to get the top two lines into the offensive zone as much as possible. Seguin and Hintz take defensive zone draws, but in a perfect selling-out-for-offense world they’re starting in the offensive zone as much as possible. When the series shifts to Dallas I would expect them to get significantly more offensive zone starts than they did in game one (and likely game two) since the home team can dictate matchups to a greater extent.

So there are not going to be any offensive zone starts for Spezza if he isn’t on the top two lines, and with the emergence of Hintz there isn’t really a spot for him up there given his production and lack of defensive ability. If he’s playing on the bottom lines he’s going to be expected to start in the defensive zone more often. If you don’t let him on the ice for faceoffs (negating some of his value as a faceoff “ace”) you’re throwing him out on the fly when you know his skating isn’t great.

It’s…tricky. It’s the same logic that keeps Denis Gurianov out of the lineup. I don’t agree with it when it comes to Gurianov given his game breaking speed, but I have a hard time getting too worked up over Spezza at this point. In the top six they do have better options now, even if Spezza is better offensively than Dowling. Dowling is a pretty decent player though.

The fourth line barely played in game one, but when they were on the ice they were fine. They played straight up with the Calle Jarnkrok, Wayne Simmonds, and Brian Boyle line. Dowling had 52 points in 62 AHL games with a normal shooting percentage. He’s a fine depth player. If Spezza isn’t going to be a big part of the offense or on the powerplay it makes sense to have a more defensively responsible better skater on the bottom line.

It sucks for Spezza, but he’ll find a home next year with a team more able to fit him in. The speed game just isn’t going to work for him now, and the Stars are doing a hell of a lot more skating the past few months. It sucks for him, but getting worked up over it as a fan makes little sense.

Why not donate to the cause at our Patreon?

Follow us on Twitter.

4/11/19 – Sneaking a Catfish into Bridgestone Arena

Imagine your favorite team has made the NHL Playoffs. You’re so excited to get to a game. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve taken a game in. You want to cheer and go full tilt. Perhaps you get a little trashed. To really accent the mood of the moment you sneak a rotting catfish into the area attached to your torso with the intent of throwing it onto the ice to celebrate (????) a goal with the help of your parents.

This is the Nashville way. People do this. People also record educational videos explaining how to make this happen.Let us learn together.

First we need to meet the hero of our story: Catfish Cody. He appears to wear the number 69 on his customized mustard jersey. I feel like the number really fits and sets the scene in a way no other number could. It truly is a nice jersey. We will eventually meet his parents which I feel really seals the mood he was going for in the video.

Catfish Cody takes great care to dry the fish in the parking lot. I appreciate his dedication to food handling standards as he dries this catfish on, *checks notes*, the ground. A lot of effort is being taken to dry this fish with paper towels. We’re talking 20 seconds or so.

Why? Are we worried about bacteria? It’s a dead fish exposed to the elements and soon to be strapped to your body. Is this supposed to minimize the smell? What is the endgame here? What is the purpose? Just wrap the fish. This took a good 20 seconds of video time.

And he does! During the course of the video Catfish Cody will use almost an entire box of Saran Wrap.

Mr. Cody took damn near a minute to wrap this fish. Again I ask, why? What are we protecting? Wrap the damn fish.

More Saran Wrap was used to attach the fish to his body. I take it back: he used an entire box easily.

His parents showed up to help attach the fish. Both allowed themselves to be seen on camera.

They must be overcome with emotion as they send their son off, the pride and joy of their family, their offspring, a product of their love and a symbol of the legal obligation these two people made to each other in the name of matrimony, to throw a fucking fish on the ice at a professional hockey game.

Just to prove it was All Worth It, our hero Catfish Cody #69 had a camera person who was totally not a parent sit several rows behind him to record the Throwing Of The Fish.

And we aren’t even celebrating a goal. We’re so overcome with emotion at the singing of the national anthem that we launch a catfish onto the ice. How disrespectful can you be to the anthem?

These colors don’t run and these lyrics say nothing about throwing catfish!

Now you know how to sneak a catfish into Bridgestone Arena and make your parents proud while wearing a #69 jersey. Good luck for game two.

Why not donate to the cause at our Patreon?

Follow us on Twitter.

4/8/19 – Render unto Montgomery the things that are Montgomery’s

Jim Montgomery has taken a lot of shit this year. He’s deserved a lot of it too. This was a mediocre team at best for most of the season until around the All Star break. Then, suddenly, they started to play better. Sean Shapiro published an interview with Montgomery that goes into what went down a little bit.

One of the keys to being a successful person I’ve found is the willingness to adjust by reflecting about yourself, and the role you play in making success happen. Montgomery apparently went down this path hard at the All Star break.

“I read articles, watched games, just did that type of research,” Montgomery said. “What can we do to excel at that? And what can we do to give us a chance to make us consistently successful?”

Perfect. Even if the Stars had fallen short of their goal that’s all you can ask of someone if you trust their ability to do a job.

Two things really stick out to me about the interview. One, Montgomery got the leadership core engaged and taking ownership of the situation.

Montgomery sat down with Stars captain Jamie Benn and the rest of the leadership group. He held a summit to define what Stars hockey was going to look like for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

“The players talked about how we need to be relentless. How when we play a relentless style, (with) a ‘let’s go hunt’ attitude, we are in a pretty good spot and that’s what we need to be.”

Two, he stopped trying to fit square pegs into round holes. This team doesn’t have the offensive firepower down the lineup to go toe to toe with the top offensive teams in the league offensively.

“I was fortunate in junior hockey I had teams that could score, you know what I mean? So we didn’t have to adopt that type of mentality. At Denver, we had to adopt that and we had to change the way we played the last six weeks of the regular season.”

[…]

“I’m never going to go away from my belief that you have to pressure and possess the puck,” Montgomery said. “But some players just don’t hang on to pucks long enough, they don’t protect pucks well enough for us to do certain things. That’s why we did more one-on-one video.”

Roope Hintz has clearly taken to this with a 42 point pace since the break. Radek Faksa looks better. Jason Dickinson has shown more offensive flashes. We’ve seen how absurdly good Mats Zuccarello looks fitting into the group. Alexander Radulov can’t stop scoring. For the younger players though it took trust from the guys in charge.

Montgomery deserves credit for steering the ship back in the right direction. Getting the leadership core on track and buying in, especially after Jim Lites ripped them to shreds, was key. Once they set the tone it makes everything else easier. Right around this time Montgomery was clearly frustrated publicly.

Good for him for taking that frustration, and turning it into positive results.

Why not donate to the cause at our Patreon?

Follow us on Twitter.

4/1/19 – The Naming of the Cow

I would be remiss if I didn’t begin this official policy statement by acknowledging that the idea of using the Mooterus and Mooterus iconography as a punchline is deeply offensive to a large number of people from all walks of life. From sea to glorious shining sea and from the third coast up to the furthest reaches of Canadian territory the Mooterus is a symbol of love, respect, and humanity. Making a mockery of it only emboldens its message.

The great irony here is that all of the efforts taken lately by the Stars to tangentially besmirch the good name of the Mooterus do nothing but bring light to the cause. With more visibility comes more acceptance. We will soon live in a world where the Mooterus is allowed to roam free without fear of scorn. #LetThemRoam

Today the Stars acquired a cow. Victor E. Green has been seen walking it.

The cow must stay. It doesn’t matter if its April Fools Day or not.

Marty Turco, seen here in his Mooterus…

…has suggested several names for this sacred calf. Mike Moodano. Joe Mooendyk, Sergei Moobov, and Andy Mooooog. Our stance is the cow should be named Mooro Heiscownen. Given that this isn’t an option we fully endorse Sergei Moobov.

Voting can be done here:

Please help remove this Mike Moodano moonstrosity.